Poinsettia Bowl tonight, Thunder and Clippers continue runs, Texas upsets No.23 North Carolina, NFL News and Notes, MLB Hot Stove League, NHL Lockout + Free Play for Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bowls restart with BYU and San Diego State Poinsettia Bowl

Bowl season returns tonight with BYU taking on San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl. This is a home game for the Aztecs who are 3.5 dogs to the Cougars. The total has dropped from 50 to 47.5 probably because both quarterbacks are dinged. BYU’s Riley Nelson has been upgraded to probable while SDSU’s Ryan Katz is out. BYU was 2-4 on the road this year but have beaten their former Mountain West foe four straight times by an average margin of 16 ppg. The Cougars are 5-0 when the score 30 points, 1-5 when they don’t. San Diego State won seven straight down the stretch including wins over Boise State and Nevada. The Aztecs were 3-1 getting points this year. Weather will be perfect with a game time temperature of about 62 predicted.

Thunder roll to 12 straight win

Oklahoma City improved to an NBA best 21-4 after winning their 12th straight game, an easy 100-92 roadie at Atlanta. Kevin Durant went for 41-13-3 while Russell Westbrook chipped in with 27-3-11 as the Thunder forged out to a 55-41 halftime lead and never looked back. Jeff Teague led the Hawks with 19 points and 9 assists. Both teams had 36 field goals and the game was won at the free throw line where OKC buried 19 of 20 attempts. The ATL could manage just 11 of 17.

Highlights from the Clippers 11th straight win

Texas dumps the Tar Heels and loses best player for the season

It was a good day on the court and a bad day off the court for the Texas Longhorn basketball program. On the court, the young Horns got 18 points from Sheldon McClellan in a wire-to-wire 85-67 spanking of No.23 North Carolina. Of the court, Texas found out that they will be without top player Myck Kabongo who was suspended for the entire season for lying to the NCAA about his ties with agent Rich Paul who also represents Lebron James. Kabongo started 34 games last season, averaging 9.6 points and 3.0 rebounds.

Angels send Kendrys Morales to the Mariners for Jason Vargas

In a rare inter-division trade, the Angels have sent power hitting Kendrys Morales to Seattle for starting pitcher Jason Vegas. On the surface, the trade appears to be good for both teams. The Angels are loaded in the outfield and set at DH but pick up a much needed dependable back of the rotation starter. Vargas led Seattle in wins last season, going 14-11 with a 3.85 ERA and pitched a career-high 217 1-3 innings. The 29-year-old is 36-42 with a 4.09 ERA in four years with the Mariners. The M’s get a much needed middle of the order power hitter that would be riding the pine in Anaheim. Morales hit .273 with 22 home runs and 73 RBIs last season after missing the entire 2011 season after breaking his leg early in 2010 while celebrating a game-ending grand slam against the Mariners. Morales was at his best later in the 2012 season hitting .275 with 11 homers, 28 RBIs and an OPS of .827 over the final two months. Among its regular starters, no Seattle hitter had an OPS higher than .738 for the 2012 season.

NHL Deputy Commisioner says there will be a NHL season

While another round of cancelled games is expected this week, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said on an interview with Sirius radio that the league would play this year. When asked flat out by XM radio host Elliote Friedman if there would be a season, Daly’s response was, “yes”. As things stand now, the NHLPA is waiting on the league to resume negotiations and hammer out a new CBA.

Free Play

(NCAAB) Boise State -12.5 over Idaho (Thursday, December 20, 9:00 PM EST)

Free Pick record in December: 8-10